Last week, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program launched their MOOC How Writers Write Fiction (if you’re interested in signing up, just click on the link). I took this course last year and thought it was fantastic, so I’ve signed up for it again. Unfortunately, the class isn’t even a week old and I’m already behind. At this point, I just have to laugh. I’ve discovered as a parent, especially as a mom, I must constantly reprioritize what’s possible, what’s probable, and what needs to stay locked in stasis somewhere in an alternate reality for a while. And yet, despite my revision work (Did I mention I’m finished with the novel?), school meetings, after-school meetings, running the house, celebrating my birthday (happy birthday world! So happy you came into my life all those years ago) and searching for a dog, I’m not too far behind. I watched the videos (most of them), I just haven’t completed the exercises, which leads me to this post. Read more
On Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th the English Bookshop in Stockholm hosted two visiting authors, Jen Campbell, author of the hilarious Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and Marie Phillips, author of The Table of Less Valued Knights. Stockholm Writers Group member Karen Hagersten reached out to the bookshop and organized a wonderful evening for the group, and hopefully the authors.
For Jen’s talk, the bookshop was packed! Some folks were even sitting on the floor. But it was all worth it. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine, a great interview, and a chance to not only get a book signed, but also to chat for a moment with the authors? After Jen’s talk, we took both ladies out to dinner and a number of us returned the following morning for the breakfast talk with Marie Phillips. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the breakfast talk. I’m bummed, too, because Marie was so funny and I really wanted to hear more about her book. The way she described it at dinner was–and I’m paraphrasing here–‘You know how King Arthur had the round table knights? This book is about the other knights–the ones who didn’t make it to the round table.’ My kind of book.) Read more
Over the weekend, the latest edition of Perihelion Online Science Fiction Magazine came out. This is important for science-fiction fans because the online magazine is free, which means you now have 11 new stories and articles to read. I’m happy about it because my short story “Bug Out” is one of those new stories. They even added some artwork to it, which looks fantastic. I’m honored for another reason, too, though. If you look at the author names, you’ll see I’m one of only two female writers featured in a genre where women are the minority. That feels great.
You can read my story here: “Bug Out.” Don’t forget to come back and tell me what you think.
Oh, and read some of the other stories, too. I did =). If you enjoyed the stories, consider making a donation to the site. Perihelion is one of the few free online magazines which still pays for submissions.
Today is September 11, 2015. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember the loss we experienced fourteen years ago. I think about it all the time, but I’m ashamed to admit after time, it becomes abstract, as do most traumatic events. We go on with our lives and yes, we remember, but for most of us, that initial shock and pain we felt that day has diminished. For others, it hasn’t. I was reminded of this the other day when I ran across a stack of old postcards. I looked at the towers which are now missing from the skyline and thought of all the people who died that day and are now missing from someone’s life. So I wanted to post one of the postcards here and take a moment to remember all those who lost their lives that day, and pray for those who survived and carry that loss with them.
I’ve uploaded more postcards to Twitter (@casblomberg)
So I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, mad at my computer because it’s having a personality crisis and can’t remember that it’s supposed to do things like connect to the internet, pull my file from the cloud, and print my work when I tell it to. Instead of stressing about all of that (you have no idea how easy that would be for me), I’m sipping my tea wondering how many authors drink tea and how many authors drink coffee, and what, if anything, separates the tea drinkers from the coffee drinkers. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to pull up any research on the matter because my computer is still having issues. Read more
For the past year, I’ve seen photos and stories about people and their bucket lists. They’ve been around longer than a year, but I’ve really noticed an increase in them this past year. Maybe because they’re making the rounds on social media. I’ve even seen some create bucket lists for their pets. Women post selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower, sometimes with a small dog licking the camera. I guess I understand our fascination with them. We want to squeeze everything we can out of life. See all there is to see. It’s a big world, after all, and even if we achieved everything on our lists, we’d still only experience maybe a 10th of what life has to offer.
What I don’t understand is how so many people can have such high-priced items on their list, or defy death in various ways. Perhaps I’m a pessimist, but I don’t think racking up a bunch of frequent flier miles will give me a deeper sense of meaning to life. Not to say that I don’t enjoy traveling. Visiting another culture creates opportunities to enrich us, but traveling to places so you can mark them off a checklist as if to say, ‘I did it! I’ve been there!’, doesn’t. And I have to believe there are millions of folks out there who can’t afford to hop on a plane and visit 37 countries. Or swim with dolphins. Or go skydiving. I know we all have different ideas of what’s meaningful. For some folks, it might be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, while others might want to connect with nature. And though I’d love to visit Greece or Italy, traveling in and out of airports doesn’t resonate with me. Read more
Words are funny little critters. Maybe my fascination with them began during college when I worked at the local bookstore. The part-time job supplied me with access to unlimited books, just enough social engagement to make me happy, and a little pocket money to buy things any college student needs, like beer and pizza. Every year, just before Christmas, the bookstore ran a calendar kiosk in the center of the mall and every time I pulled kiosk duty, I’d pass the time by opening the 365 Words block calendar. I peeked at the pages without trying to ruin the calendar and tried to pronounce the strange-looking words. I’d read the definition and wonder if I could ever find a way to slip pervicacious into my daily conversation. I never did. I don’t even think I ever remembered the words years after I had left the bookstore, but they were fun to say out loud. I must have gotten a semi-education along the way, too, because now I look at the words and think, ‘Pfft! I know these words. I could use them if I wanted to.’
I still love new words and I still fail to incorporate them into my daily vocabulary, unless they make an impression on me. But my vocabulary is already rich with fun words. I have so many, I end up categorizing them. Read more
On August 10, 1628, the Vasa, the crown jewel of the Swedish Navy, made her maiden voyage. She got a grand total of about 1300 meters before she keeled over. For those of you who like comparisons, that’s about the same distance as four and a half Eiffel Towers or five New York City blocks. In other words, not very far. The problem? Not enough ballast. Which would ultimately be a construction issue in my book, though some say the disaster was the captain’s fault because he sailed anyway. I guess that’s true, but I still think the designer should be held accountable, you know?
Despite her tragic end, Sweden is quite proud of this ship. They rose her from the depths of the sea and turned her into a museum. My husband and I spent Saturday walking around and learning all about her. Read more
It’s summer. It’s supposed to be anyway. The sun hasn’t shown up. It’s cold and wet and rainy, but the kids are home from school and rather than focusing on writing during the day (I’m still writing, but I’ve been sneaking away at night to write. Sometimes.), I’ve tried to work my way through a few books. I’m behind on my reading. I had originally hoped to read one book per week. It’s a good solid goal. At the end of the year, I’d have read 52 books. The only problem is I tend to read thick books. Many of which are over 500 pages. I should be close to 30 books. I’m still reading my 23rd book of the year. Sigh.
But as I’m nearing the end of my current book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (which has less than 300 pages actually, but wow, what depth on those pages!), I’m looking at what to read next. I actually have a ton of books to choose from. Literary fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, I even got my hands on a steam punk novel. For some reason, though, I’m interested in memoirs. I want to read about the lives of others. So I spent a few hours browsing this morning and I’ve made a list of the memoirs I want to read within the next year. Read more
I’ve mentioned before how I love new experiences. If there’s a large crowd, I’ll start to feel smothered, but, in general, I’m fascinated by events and people. Add anything about writing, poetry, the craft, or reading into the mix and I’m there — as long as I can afford it. It’s amazing to me how many events, contests and even submissions these days charge fees. And I get it, I really do. You have to cover costs, but what happened to holding events in open spaces? Isn’t that how we used to do things? Anyway! Back to the topic. I like new experiences. Which is handy because yesterday was a day of firsts for me. Read more